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Jonathan Weichsel Written by Jonathan Weichsel
Aug. 12, 2012 | 3:30 PM

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HollyShorts Sci-Fi and VFX Program

By Jonathan Weichsel

The Hollyshorts Sci Fi and VFX program was an amazing block of films, featuring state of the art visual effects and truly heartfelt storytelling.  Every single one of the nine films in the program was a winner.  What follows are my top four favorites, in no particular order.


8.31, direct by Noah Harald, is a heartfelt exploration of life and love at the end of the world. The title refers to the amount of time it takes light from the sun to reach earth, 8.31 minutes. The film takes place during the last day before the sun goes out, and is about a woman who goes into labor, and her husband’s quest to get her to a hospital so she can give birth before the world ends.

8.31 features amazing visual effects depicting future technology and gadgets, as well as a world on the brink of destruction, but what makes the film work is its emotionally grounded story and its serious exploration of the value of life.  It is very rare for a short film to make you choke up, but you’d need a heart of stone to not be effected by this one. 8.31 hits you with an emotional punch. 

All I Think of is You:

All I Think of is You, directed by Shad Clark, is about a man who dies in a car crash and has a copy of his consciousness uploaded into the body of a deceased African American man who had donated his body to science.  The man returns to his wife and is able to convince her that he is who he says he is, but she rejects him anyway because he is just a copy, not the real thing.

All I Think of is You is a serious exploration of what defines who we are. Philosophical and human at the same time, it’s a film that makes you think and feel.


Most of the films in the Sci Fi program were serious, meditative and dark. Standing out in a good way was Liberator, directed by Aaron Pope, a camp superhero film doubling as a TV pilot.  Liberator features an amazing cast, headlined by Lou Ferrigno, Peta Wilson, Michael Dorn, Don “the dragon” Wilson, Ed Asner, and Tara Cardinal.

If Liberator becomes a TV show, and it should, it would bring a level of bubblegum pop fun to TV that hasn’t been seen since the days of ummm, not to be too obvious, but well, La Femme Nikita and The Incredible Hulk.

Liberator is a standard Super Hero on the run story, but it has a terrific cast that is obviously having a lot of fun with the material, and that kind of fun is infectious.  As far as the cast goes, my one wish is to see more of Tara Cardinal. She is one of the most exciting up and coming actresses working right now, she was the reason I checked out this program of films, and, damn it, I wanted more of her!

Liberator is a throwback to the 80’s and 90’s, and is like nothing else being made today for the big screen or the small, and that is a good thing. If Liberator becomes a TV show, it will be a hit because there is a real hunger right now for this kind of pop fun. 

THE END - Trailer from Ted Marcus on Vimeo.

The End:

The End, directed by Ted Marcus, is about a London teenager whose parents won’t let him out on a school night to see a girl. He drugs his parents and sneaks out, only to find himself in the middle of an apocalyptic giant monster attack.  The girl dies, and he must make his way back to his drugged parents. The End has a twist that makes you question the reality of what is going on, but at its core it is a film about rebellion and the guilt it causes. The monster effects are amazing, but The End also features heartfelt, authentic writing and the best performance of the sci fi program from the teenager who sneaks out of his home.  The End manages to be funny and poignant at the same time. 

The Hollyshorts Sci Fi and VFX program was a real winner. Hollyshorts features short films from Hollywood’s future leaders, and if this is the future of Hollywood Sci fi, then it is one I look forward to.



  1. Thanks, Jonathan! Very cool of you. Please ‘like’ LIBERATOR at

    Posted by Jim Cirile on 08/13 at 12:56 PM
  2. oh, and of course we’ll be hearing more from the Liberator (and that means Tara, too.)

    Posted by Jim Cirile on 08/13 at 01:01 PM
  3. THE END sounds absolutely like something I should be watching. Wanted to kindly suggest checking out a film called Truth or Dare at Worth every minute, you won’t regret it.

    Posted by Saul Goodman on 08/27 at 03:04 PM